This has, maybe, been the hardest year of my life...and possibly of our marriage. It's difficult to actually say that out loud, or to see it written out on paper...making that statement real. Mostly b/c it's a hard thing to admit...and it's difficult to actually allow myself to believe something like that, when, in reality, I have such an amazing life. I sit here on the 2nd floor of my three-story town home. I have a pool. I have a balcony right outside of my bed that faces a busy street and looks down upon tons of trees that are filled with birds who awake me each morning at 5am w/their songs. I live in a free country. I live in a first-world country where clean water and medical care are my rights. I get to stay at home with my beautiful children, witnessing their lives and playing a part in their classrooms. I have a car. Matt has a car. My children each have their own rooms. We have food on the table at each meal. Matt has a job when so many in his industry do not. We are ever so blessed, which is why it is so difficult for me to say out loud that this has been the most difficult year of my life or our marriage. We've had tons of ups and downs! lol. Heck, when you have babies in your twenties and are both still in college that can pose some financial challenges...lol...we always joked that everything was downhill from there after the colicky/poopy diaper/college finals years! I remember times when we awoke and both cars wouldn't start...when Matt was travelling for work and I had two babies preschool and younger and had to push the car that eventually never started around the block by myself...lol...that memory cracks me up. I can remember awaking to our car being broken into (three times!)...not knowing how we might pay certain bills...to the season when I had to go to Sally Jobe...and I know that this season that we are going through right now will soon be fondly added to that list. I know that in all things God works for the good of those that love Him.
I never talk about this season of our life on my blog b/c, really, we've been surviving it...we've been hiking up that mountain trail, holding hands the whole way...sometimes taking turns carrying each other...and it never occurs to me that we are "surviving." For those of you who know me, you know that I've been sick since August. If you know me, you also know that I never sleep...I am always so busy creating art, or doing some sort of project that I go-go-go. Matt laughs at my description of my body lately: my heart loves to party, but, sadly, my body doesn't anymore. Some of my symptoms started to occur a year or two before that...but, this curled up in a ball on my bed taking zofran to make it to school for pick-up didn't really begin until August. I am blessed that this is episodic and that my sweet children are as old as they are, that Matt isn't travelling like he was four years ago, and that we have health insurance ;o) I have basically felt drunk for weeks at a time...the world around me is spinning and I have lost weight, been dehydrated, and unable to function. Don't get me wrong, I do not enjoy being sick at all...I feel horrible when I am unable to do anything for my sweet family...when Matt and the kids have to "fend for themselves," BUT, i have learned SO much in this season. I have been stretched and am growing tremendously and I cannot say that I would be the person I am today had we been able to stay in Savannah...at our house on the island while I attended SCAD. It has been a sad season...but, it has been a season of letting go of things that I cannot control and clinging wholeheartedly to my Lord and Father for comfort, provision, answers...and growth...tremendous growth. I can't imagine, if I were a tulip bulb, that it would feel so good to push up through frozen ground to bloom...Tulips are so delicate and beautiful...but, if you think about it...you'd have to also have a tremendous amount of strength to actually get up above ground to bloom.
I look at my precious husband with such adoration...what an amazing example of a servant's heart. This fella has held up my end of our family so often and so willingly...and with such love. I am so blessed by God to have this amazing man as a part of my life. I know God is in the mix here, I know He is growing us SO much. I was just reading in 1 Peter...about persevering...and about how He develops us through our trials.
OK, back to my point...b/c I didn't write this particular blog for a pity party...whatever it is you are going through right now, God may not have caused it, but He can use it...the more difficult the trial the bigger the opportunity for God to make something beautiful out of it. There are some of you out there who may feel like your world is falling apart all around you, you may feel alone, crushed, hurting, so broken that you don't even know where to turn. Allow God, in this season of winter, to grow you...remember that after winter always comes spring. And, remember that whatever you are going through, God is there...He promises two-fold for all that has been taken from us. I heard a story of a cafe that had a horrible stain near a table. Diners never ate at that table b/c the stain was so disgusting...until one day an artist came into the diner and took that stain, using it as his base, and created the most beautiful painting out of it. God can do the same for each of us. Don't ever blame him for your pain. He awaits with open arms, wanting to take the stains in your life and turn them into beautiful paintings that might not have ever been there had we not had the stains in the first place. He can create a beautiful redemptive story in each of our lives. So, while I say this may be the most difficult year of my life and of my marriage...I just mean it could very well be the most difficult stretch of trail that we've hiked so far...my legs are burning and the pack on my back feels heavier with each step...yet muscles are building and I am approaching the top getting ready to see an amazing view that I've never seen before...I'll be ready and prepared for my next hike...and who knows maybe it'll be even more treacherous...but, God will make sure I come prepared with the right tools. you will too. keep hiking. move forward...b/c every trail reaches an end...every trail has a view. sometimes the trail is so steep that when you reach the top and turn around you will be shocked that you made it.